High Court halts LSK election for male representative to JSC

The High Court on Thursday suspended the election of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) male representative to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) following a case filed questioning the nomination process.

Justice John Chigiti issued the orders in a case filed by Ishmael Nyaribo who argued that he was illegally locked out of the LSK’s upcoming election.

“Respondents’ decision f 2.2.24 to disqualify the Applicant and further stay the Law Society of Kenya Elections for the position of male representative to the Judicial Service Commission scheduled to be held on 29th February 2024 until the Applicant’s Application and the Main Motion to be filed are heard and determined OR until the name of the Applicant is included in the list of candidates for said elections,” Justice Chigiti ruled.

A major rift is emerging with candidates for various seats trooping to court over claims of a sham nomination process.

So far, two candidates- Shadrack Wambui and Nyaribo have filed two separate cases claiming that the LSK election board illegally knocked them out of the race in the last round.

 Wambui is eyeing Nairobi representative in LSK while Nyaribo wants to battle it out with the outgoing president Eric Theuri and Omwanza Ombati for the male representative JSC)

In his case, Wambui lamented that the board knocked him out after finding that he was allegedly nominated by a person registered in Mombasa and not Nairobi.

He argued that the nominator had however relocated to Nairobi and practised in the capital city.

Wambui asserted that Justus Maithya has been in Nairobi as he teaches Kenya School of Law (KSL) and has an office at Agip House.

“The honourable members of the elections board erred in law and in fact by invalidating the nomination of the Appellant by Mr Justus Munyithya on the basis of breach of Regulation 29(b) of the LSK General Regulations 2020 which provision is an unreasonable and unjustifiable limitation of the 1st respondent’s members’ rights in a free democratic process,” argued Wambui.

The LSK elections are slated for February 29. However, Wambui said that he was being unceremoniously kicked out on unjustified grounds.

According to him, the society was aware that his nominator is an active member and had an office in Nairobi.

He also claimed that upon appeal, the board communicated its rejection 22 hours after the stipulated timeline.

Nyaribo in the other hand stated that he was knocked out over claims that his nominator had not practiced for more than 15 years.

“ The second respondent vide its letter dated January 16, 2024, communicated its decision to disqualify me on account of non-compliance with Regulation 29 of the LSK General Regulation and more specifically that both of my nominators ought to have at least fifteen (15) years experience as an advocate,” argued Nyaribo.

In his case before Justice Chigiti, he stated that the board had not expressly set such a requirement in the regulations.

He argued that the reason cited to disqualify him from participating in the elections was unreasonable, illegal and unconstitutional.

According to him, it was also discriminatory to require him to find a nominator who had practised more than 15 years as it meant that it locked out all persons who are under 51 years from nominating their candidates.

Nyaribo argued that, unlike the requirements for the positions of the President, Vice-President and Council Members, the board did not specify that interested members should comply with the practice bracket requirements.

“The purported imposition of an additional requirement by the respondents for nomination pursuant to Regulation 29 is unlawful and a breach of my constitutional right to offer myself as a candidate for the position of a Commissioner of Judicial Service Commission,” he argued.